Jon Jessen, Founder and Chairman of the Board
Jon was raised in Dos Palos, Ca. where his father taught school and had a small dairy. After graduating from U.C. Davis Jon served in Korea. Upon return he found a crop advisor job for a local farmers co-op in Yuma Az. In 1959 he married Caroline (Liney) Lott, a local school teacher. She was to become “The Heart” of the businesses he would form. Jon learned to fly and earned an MBA at Peter Drucker on the G.I. Bill. He is still keenly interested in agriculture, traveling the world to explore its crops, meet its people and renew old friendships. Jon and Liney spend much of their time with their four children and eight grandchildren.
Juli Jessen, Chief Executive Officer of Gowan Group
Juli is a graduate of Stanford University where she earned degrees in chemical engineering and business. Her first job was with the U.S. EPA. Since then she has held many positions at Gowan leading up to her current role as CEO. These include formulation plant chemist, labeling specialist, field rep in multiple regions, sales manager, and COO. Juli has served on various national and regional industry boards to advocate for sound science policy for agriculture around the world. With Juli at the helm, Gowan Group is active in developing and defending safe and effective products for the most demanding agricultural needs. This effort spans Gowan’s dedicated people, outspoken positions and investment in science education at all levels. Juli has a daughter; they both enjoy traveling, swimming and spending time with family. Her passions are agriculture, education and children.
Mauricio Manjarrez, Chief Financial Officer
Mauricio, a native of Mexico, holds a degree in Economics from the Tec de Monterrey. His professional journey commenced as a Finance Analyst at Electronic Data Systems, where he gained his inaugural international exposure. He spearheaded a Joint Venture in Brazil, establishing a Credit Card clearing services company. Mauricio further honed his expertise at Johnson & Johnson, assuming the mantle of Finance Director. He embraced diverse responsibilities during his tenure, delving into sales and marketing as a Franchise Director for the Diagnostics Business.
Before joining Gowan, Mauricio's career included a stint as Regional CFO at Baxter. In this capacity, he oversaw the Financial operations across Latin America, Canada, and the Renal Clinics Business Units globally. Mauricio enjoys swimming and cycling in his spare time.
Mark Jessen, Head of Regions
Mark grew up in Yuma, Arizona, where he got a taste for agriculture at a young age. He graduated from the University of California Davis with a degree in Plant Science, then several years later earned an MBA from Indiana University and a Master's in Food Science from Purdue University. After his undergraduate studies, he spent four years working as a pest control advisor in the vegetable crops of the Salinas Valley in California. Mark joined Gowan in 1997 as a sales representative. In 1999 he was dispatched to Spain as Gowan's first full-time employee in Europe, where he was charged with setting up direct distribution for several Gowan products as the international business began to take form. In 2003 he returned to Yuma for a three-year stint as a product manager. For the following fifteen years, he managed the Gowan Group's retail business, which included the Dune Companies, Gowan Seed, JCO Fertilizer, and others. He was named Head of Regions in the summer of 2023. Mark and his wife Kathy have three teenage daughters.
Curtis Priest, Head of Global Assets
Curtis grew up in Yuma, Arizona – a place he is proud to call home. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Northern Arizona University. Although working in the ag industry was not initially on his career radar, something shifted along the way, and as his desire to help feed the world grew, he found himself following in his father’s footsteps. This led to his first role with the Gowan Group as Process Engineer, followed by Plant Manager at Gowan Milling. To further his knowledge, he obtained his MBA at Arizona State University and followed that by becoming Country Head at Gowan Canada. Today, he continues to grow and lead as the Head of Global Assets for Gowan Company. He is married to Andrea, and they have two sons, Mason and Hunter. He enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.
Steve Petersen, President of Gowan USA
Steve grew up on a family farm in North Bend Nebraska and earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. With more than 26 years of experience in the Agricultural Crop Protection Chemical Business, Steve began his career with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) / ZENECA Ag Products and then transitioned to Gowan Company in 1999 where he has held several postions in Sales/Marketing/Management. Steve is located in the Overland Park Kansas Gowan USA Office. He currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors for CropLife America. Steve is married to Tammy and they have two daughters attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the University of Nebraska - Kearney.
Ephi Gur, Chief Scientist - Exigent
Ephi started his professional career in Science as Head of the General Toxicology Group at Life Science Research Israel (LSRI). In the spring of '92, Ephi spent 18 months working for Bromine Compounds Ltd, taking the role of the Head of Regulatory and Safety Group. Ephi then transitioned into a position with ADAMA (formerly called Makhteshim Agan) and spent 8 years as the Head of Global Regulatory. He then left his home country of Israel to act as VP of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for ADAMA of North America. After 18 years with ADAMA, Ephi decided to fill the role of Vice President at Envigo Regulatory Consulting US. Ephi began working in Gowan Company as Global Chief Scientist in 2014 and has started his own consulting company, Ephi Gur Regulatory Consulting Inc. Ephi has been married to Sivana for over 35 years and they raised three children: Yannay, Shahar, and Moses. Ephi's hobbies include basketball, filmography, traveling, and hiking. He is also a generous grandpaw for Dottie the Aussie Terrier.
Rob Plaice, Director of Global Development
Rob grew up on a mixed farm in the North of England before studying Agriculture at Harper Adams Agricultural college obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Ag. His career started in farm management before becoming focused on crop agronomy resulting in several years of providing on farm advice in all aspects of crop production in the UK. Before joining Gowan Rob spent 8 years with Monsanto in various technical and commercial roles.In 2014 Rob joined Gowan in the UK before moving into the Global development role.